Blake: Sabotaging TABOR comes down to a single subject
When it comes to sabotaging TABOR, term limits and the initiative process, the usual suspects tend to round themselves up.
The latest group, called “Building a Better Colorado,” is fronted by the otherwise estimable Dan Ritchie, who served 15 years as chancellor of the University of Denver, taking no pay and donating his $50 million ranch to the school.
The organization intends to hold “town hall meetings” throughout the state and produce a report recommending changes by year’s end.
Presumably most of these changes would necessitate ballot initiatives, since it’s hard to get the two-thirds majorities needed in the legislature to place referendums.
By proposing initiatives they are going to have to confront the awkward single-subject rule. More on that later.
Despite the clarity of their goals, the reformers like to talk in tiptoe-through-the-tulips terms. “It is subtle,” Gail Klapper of the Colorado Forum told The Denver Post, adding the discussions are about “nuanced changes” allowing Colorado “to move forward in the way we all want it to go.”
The Colorado Forum is just one of several civic groups behind Ritchie’s efforts. Its goals aren’t that subtle. It says on its Web site that “Colorado’s fiscal system has a structural imbalance — created by inherently conflicting constitutional mandates — that will continue to result in a widening gap between General Fund revenue and necessary expenditures.”
However “necessary” might be defined. The Forum goes on to recommend that TABOR-mandated refunds to the people be postponed and “revenue sources” not subject to the revenue cap be considered. Presumably that means imposing more “fees” instead of taxes that require a popular vote.